Major concerns have been raised after a number of rats were spotted in a school, sparking an urgent investigation.

Videos are circulating social media of a large rat in the female toilets at Shoebury High School.

A parent, with two children at the school, contacted the Echo to say his children had “heard scratching noises while in lessons”.

He claims pupils have seen rat dropping across the school and can smell urine.

An email was sent to parents on Friday by headteacher Clare Costello, stating the school was working closely with hygiene specialist Ecolab to resolve the issue.

It was also claimed the issue has been ongoing for weeks, and that pupils were “moved from an English classroom after a rat ran through” at the start of the month.

Maryanne Elizabeth, 24, whose sister is in Year 11, said: “It is very worrying, and the school have only spoken out now videos are on social media; they have known for a month at least.

“It was about three weeks ago that my sister came home saying they had moved English classroom because a rat was in the room.

“She freaked out. She is a bit of a screamer so she panicked, but she has raised concerns about health problems. She says it really smells in the school, she says you can smell urine everywhere.”

The school, which denied to comment further on the matter, emailed parents, saying: “We have had sightings of rats on the school site. Of course this is never tolerated and we have been doing all that we can to identify the entry point. We have also been using the professional services of Ecolab and have ourselves contacted the council to inform them.

“We have identified a weak spot in the northwest corner of the building and have now closed this area so that it can be stripped and any possible entry points sealed. We will then do a deep clean of the area before reopening.

“I completely understand and sympathise with the concerns expressed by parents but I would hope that you would know that something like this would never just be accepted and that we would always be doing everything possible to remedy the issue.

“No one who has responsibility for such a large, expansive and open site could or should ever promise that they won’t experience what we have these last few days but I can promise that we put the well-being of students and staff above everything, we have a reputation for it, and so will always take immediate action to deal with problems like this.”