23 Mar 2015

Government may close Christchurch school

8:40 pm on 23 March 2015

The Government is proposing to close Redcliffs School in Christchurch.

Redcliffs School Board of Trustees Chairman Craig Jones

Redcliffs School Board of Trustees Chairman Craig Jones at today's press conference in Christchurch. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Education Minister Hekia Parata made the announcement this afternoon after receiving advice that a cliff behind the school was still too unstable.

Hekia Parata.

Education Minister Hekia Parata Photo: RNZ

The school has been closed since a June 2011 aftershock, when part of the cliff collapsed.

The leadership of Christchurch's Redcliffs School said it was in shock at news of the proposal.

The chairperson of the school's board of trustees, Craig Jones, said they had advice from experts that an earth embankment could be built to protect the school from falling rocks.

He said the minister's announcement was unexpected and the board would do everything in its power to stop the closure.

The minister insisted closing the school, which has a roll of 200, was not a cost-saving exercise but said finding another location for it in Redcliffs was not considered.

The closure would be from July 2016.

The school is currently based at a temporary location at the Van Asch Deaf Education Centre in Sumner.

A final decision is expected in August.