7 Jul 2016

Redcliffs School to remain open

3:17 pm on 7 July 2016

Members of the Redcliffs School community are celebrating news their school, which was closed following the Canterbury earthquakes, will remain open but will be relocated to a different site.

Redcliffs School principal Rose McInerney on Parliament's grounds after the announcement that the school would remain open.

Minister of Education Hekia Parata met with representatives from the school this morning to let them know she was overturning an interim decision, made last year, to close the school.

Redcliffs School was closed following the 2011 quakes, and students and classes were shifted to a temporary site in Sumner because of concerns about the stability of the cliff behind the school.

Education Minister Hekia Parata says the unstable cliff behind the Redcliffs School makes the site unsuitable for a school.

Redcliffs School was closed because of the unstable cliff behind the school. Photo: RNZ / Rachel Graham

In a statement this morning, Ms Parata said she had set aside her interim decision to close Redcliffs School and a discussion had been initiated on relocating the school to an alternative site in Redcliffs.

Principal Rose McInerney said she was delighted with the decision and it was the amazing news that the school community had been waiting for.

Telling people of the decision was one of the more emotional moments she'd had and the community were "lifting the roof off the gym" after hearing the news.

No guarantee school will stay in suburb

There was a catch to today's announcement, however.

Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Minister Nikki Kaye

Education Minister Hekia Parata (left) and Associate Minister Nikki Kaye Photo: RNZ / Yasmine Ryan

At the same time as the school was celebrating the news, Ms Parata said there was no guarantee the school would remain in Redcliffs.

Before a decision could be made on this, further work was needed to establish if it could be relocated to another piece of land in the suburb, she said.

"We need to just button down some of these issues, we will do that and then in mid-October I expect to give a decision [on where the school will be placed] based on that information," Ms Parata said.

The minister also wanted to find out if there was any risk of the children being traumatised by returning to the site, due to the threat posed by the cliff.

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