Education Minister Hekia Parata has made an interim decision to close Redcliffs School in Christchurch due to ongoing concern about the unstable cliff behind it.

The school has been fighting to return to its site in Main Rd after it was forced to move in 2011 after the earthquakes.

More than 3000 submissions were tabled in favour of the school staying open.

However, Ms Parata announced today that she remained concerned about the potential for future disruption to education provision if the school returns to the Main Rd site.


"While the school's board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out," she said.

"The situation is further complicated by uncertainty over which agency or agencies would be responsible for deciding on a return to the site following a significant event, the private ownership of the land behind the school and the fact that no agency is currently monitoring the cliff face."

She was also concerned about the timing of the return to the Main Rd site.

"In my view, these factors mean the Main Rd site is not suitable for education provision in the longer term. Conversely, if Redcliffs School was closed, I am satisfied that children from Redcliffs would be able to access a very good education at other schools in the neighbourhood.

It was not the end of the process, Ms Parata said, with the board having one further opportunity to provide further reasons for the school staying open. A timeframe for that had not been determined.

Labour's MP for Port Hills Ruth Dyson said the decision was "bizarre".

"This site is safe and the community clearly supports the school being returned to Redcliffs," she said.

"The Minister has no justification for this disappointing decision."


The school, which caters for Year 1 to 8 students, has been operating from van Asch Deaf Education Centre in Sumner since its closure.