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Redcliffs School, Christchurch, Under Threat

redcliffsOn the 23rd of March 2015 the Minister of Education announced a proposal to close Redcliffs School. The Board of Trustees and the community have until the 1st of May 2015 to make submissions regarding this proposal.

The Board is opposed to closure for the following reasons:

1. Both the MWH Geotechnical Report and the Education Report state that with the right protection in place the site is viable and safe. The site is safe.

2. The proposal to close the school is focussed on the potential disruption of education that could be caused by a future rock-fall event – however no work has been done on the likely effects of this event, or on a technical solution. The Board believes that these problems are solvable and is focussed on this task. Disruption to learning may not occur or it may only be a technical or logistic problem that can be solved.

3. Minister Parata has stated that this proposal for closure is not based on financial considerations. However, the Board believes that the cost of the solution to any disruption is far outweighed by the social and economic benefits to the ministry, staff, students and wider community. It would be socially and economically damaging to close our school.

What are the next steps?

1. The Board will be working hard on the school’s submission

2. You can write your own submission to the Minister:  Submission Instructions for Redcliffs School

We are happy to provide you with guidance on this process, simply

Submissions can be forwarded to Coralanne Child, Director of Education, Ministry of Education, P.O. Box 2522, Christchurch 8140 or email

3. The Support Redcliffs School campaign will be engaging with the whole community over the coming weeks.

This is a timeline of the events leading up to this decision.

September 2010: following the first earthquake a number of rock fragments fell from the cliffs behind the school

October – December 2010: at the suggestion of geotech Mark Yetton, who was contracted by DoC at the time, and through the determination of the school Principal and Board, a rock bund was constructed at the rear of the school and operations took place to remove lose material from the cliff face using water.

February 22, 2011: the bund contained the overwhelming majority of the rock fall from the earthquake with only a small number of rocks coming onto the school site.

February 22 – June 2011: Following the February earthquake MWH began rock-fall modelling of the cliffs and a set of safety measures were put in place, including moving and disuse of a number of school buildings and the installation of a shipping container barrier and fly rock fencing.

March 23, 2011: with the safety measures put in place the school reopened for instruction

June 13, 2011: Further rock fall occurred but no rock fall breached the established safety measures, however a decision was made to move off-site with a temporary relocation to Sumner School and then the move to van Asch Deaf Education Centre in Sumner

June 2011 onwards: MWH were re-engaged to investigate mitigation for the school site after the event

June 2011 – April 2014: This report is repeatedly delayed by ongoing events and the need to coordinate its content with CERA land zoning decisions

April 2014: Board received a draft version of the MWH geotechnical report, but was told it would need the input of GNS data to be finalised – The Board approached the CCC to try and get an early release of this data so that the MWH report could be finalised

August 2014: Final GNS data is made available to MWH and the final version of the MWH Redcliffs School Mitigation Report is completed.

August 2014: The Board has the opportunity to contribute to a first version of the Education Report that includes the technical reports. This report had gone to the Minister for Education just before the September election.

December 2014: the Board is informed that the Minister is seeking further clarification on some aspects of the report.

March 23 (3.15 pm) 2015: The Minister meets with the Board and proposes the closure of Redcliffs School. The Board and the community have until the 1st of May 2015 to make submissions about this decision. – The submissions date is then extended to July 1st by the Minister

April 19 2015: Over 3000 people from all over Christchurch Walk with Redcliffs in support of keeping the school open.

How Can You Help?

  • Please Like and Share us on Facebook, to spread the word.
  • To contact Redcliffs School, email the board at: 

Further Information

If you want further technical information you can find the MWH Report on the school website:

You can also access more information and the full reports on the Shaping Education website 

About Save Our Schools NZ

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


One thought on “Redcliffs School, Christchurch, Under Threat

  1. The minister should listen to the community
    She should know surely parents would not put there children in jeopardy and ensure there safety is first priority


    Posted by Pauline Brenda Lowe-Johnson | April 22, 2015, 3:04 pm

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