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Manics Star: Don't Shut My Old School - Monmouthshire Free Press, 17th September 2005

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Title: Manics Star: Don't Shut My Old School
Publication: Monmouthshire Free Press
Date: Saturday 17th September 2005

It was the late 1980s and four young pupils were putting together a band that was to become one of the biggest rock acts in the UK.

James Dean Bradfield, Richey James (Edwards), Nicky Wire and Sean Moore would talk constantly about music in between lessons at Oakdale Comprehensive School.

They were encouraged by their teachers to be creative and later emerged as the Manic Street Preachers, selling millions of records and still going strong today.

Now that school is under threat and the establishment which inspired the Manics could be lost forever.

Today the band expressed their sadness at the proposed closure of Oakdale comprehensive in 2007.

Bassist Nicky Wire said: "Oakdale school was a unique environment to be creative and academic.

"We are all very sad that this school with its special, strong identification is earmarked for closure."

Members of Caerphilly council's cabinet agreed to proposals that could see Oakdale close in 2007 as part of a shake-up of secondary schools.

There are currently 680 pupils with 183 surplus places.

Nicky Wire's brother, writer Patrick Jones, also attended the school.

He said: "Oakdale School planted the seed of learning and led me into further education to become a writer.

"Sport played a big part in my school years and I remember John Toshack and the All Blacks team coming to the school."

Oakdale councillor and governor Allan Pritchard also implored the cabinet to remove the school from the consultation process.

He argued the school had been turned around since headteacher Ian Kilcoyne took over 20 months ago - and said the recent GCSE exams showed it as one of the most improving comprehensives in the entire county borough.

A final decision will be made by March 2006, and if it is decided to go ahead with the plans the school will close in September 2007.