Hekia Parata backs down over Redcliffs School


Education Minister Hekia Parata has done a u-turn, announcing she is setting aside her interim decision to close Redcliffs School.

The ministry will now discuss moving the school to another site.

"This is amazing news that the school community have been waiting for. Telling our people this news was one of the more emotional moments I’ve had," says principal Rose McInerney.

"Our staff have been incredible role models for the children through all of this, and have provided the stability and care that we've all needed to get through this. There are hugs, and smiles, and enormous sighs of relief all around, and now we can get on with getting home to Redcliffs, where we belong."

"The school's board has made the case that moving the school forward and sacrificing about 40 percent of the Main Rd site will address the risk of disrupted education on the Redcliffs site being caused by rocks falling from the cliffs behind the school," Ms Parata says.

"Based on expert engineering advice, I am advised that the concerns leading to my interim decision have been addressed, and have therefore decided not to confirm my interim decision that the school should close."

"However, before a decision is made about whether the school can go back to Main Road, we will explore the possible psychosocial effects of returning the school to its previous site and the possibility of relocating to an alternative site."

Ms Parata says while this next phase is not a formal consultation process, the views of the board, parents and the wider community will be important.

She says the Ministry will also work closely with the Christchurch City Council over the next two months because it has a strong interest in the Redcliffs community.

The ministry will now work with the school to further investigate whether an alternative site in Redcliffs would be a better option or a return to the original site. This is expected by mid-October.