Case Study

English Language Partners New Zealand maintains student count during the pandemic with Tribal ebs in the cloud

English Language Partners New Zealand (ELPNZ) is a highly-regarded and successful English Language institution operating with 22 centres across New Zealand. Its vision is to support former refugees and migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds to participate in all aspects of life in New Zealand through the provision of English language learning programmes.

Approximately 6,500 learners are involved in the language programmes each year. These are delivered by more than 300 paid staff and 1,000 trained volunteers.

ELPNZ students in class 2 - 770px x 320px


The background: Pre-pandemic

Prior to the pandemic shaking up the way education is delivered across the globe, ELPNZ had adopted Tribal Cloud Services as part of its student management system (Tribal ebs) delivery. This enabled the language school’s small team to rely on a dedicated team of technical experts to help them with monitoring, upgrading, and patching the system.

As Jordi Cordwell, ELPNZ Business Analyst, explains, “ELP doesn’t have a dedicated IT team in the way that some other institutions have. Pre-pandemic, ELPNZ did not offer any online classes to learners across our different centres. Then COVID-19 hit the world, and everything changed, including the way in which education is delivered and managed.

“Having ebs in the cloud was a godsend during the pandemic. We transitioned to online classes very quickly and also changed some business processes which necessitated some adjustments within ebs. These changes were able to be rapidly implemented and facilitated the management of our business through this changing environment. Tribal ebs has been very adaptable and flexible during the pandemic which we’ve been super grateful for. I believe it would have been very difficult to achieve the same results with our old system.”

The challenge: Pivoting with the restraints of the pandemic

With a sudden shift from face-to-face to online learning globally, a negative impact to the education market was bound to happen but surprisingly not for ELPNZ. With their system already set up in the cloud, they were in a good position.

“I don’t think we would’ve considered online classes before the pandemic. We now have some learners who have only ever attended classes online,” says Cordwell.

The combination of Tribal Cloud Services and Tribal ebs provided several benefits, including:

  1. The ability to get set-up to work from home quickly. This would have been more difficult to achieve prior to moving to ebs as each of ELPNZ’s 22 remote centres had its own local database. With ebs in the cloud, every member of staff was immediately able to work from home and access the same, centralised management system.

    “The fact that ebs is in the cloud was fantastic for when we all needed to work from home during lockdowns,” says Cordwell. “We didn’t have that option with our old system. If staff and teachers were stuck at home with their own IT equipment, they could still access ebs and ontrack to perform their usual tasks. Also, when they did have work equipment, it was just a really simple setup to access ebs and ontrack. You’re not having to download a database/system to your laptop, everyone can access the system via a url link.”
  2. Flexibility to deliver remote learning. ELPNZ could quickly respond to the changing needs of their staff and learners, with new ebs features to track and manage group introductory sessions taking place virtually.

    Cordwell says, “I think one of the great strengths of ebs and Ontrack is that they are adaptable, flexible and in the cloud. Nothing is certain in the pandemic and there have been several changes that have come along affecting business processes for us, so it’s fantastic that ebs and Ontrack have kept up with our needs.”
  3. Adaptability to expand student reach. Pre-pandemic, ELPNZ was a 100 per cent in-person education organisation, but it now offers both online and face-to-face programmes to learners located anywhere in the country and has the tools within ebs to manage this growth.

The results: 

As an organisation in the education sector, ELPNZ was well equipped to handle the challenges brought about by the pandemic, and the organisation is now future-ready. ebs delivered in the cloud provides the flexibility, agility and technological advances that has allowed a small team and no dedicated IT department to quickly adapt to the changing landscape.

“I feel that whatever the future brings we’re ready with the Tribal products that we’ve got,” says Cordwell.

About Tribal Cloud Services: 

Tribal Cloud Services enables you to move your Student Management System to a managed service. Our expert team can take care of the day-to-day running of your system to handle all the demands of the modern institution, freeing you and your team to focus on strategic projects and the things that matter most.

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Our Cloud Delivery solution reduces any security, availability or peak usage concerns thanks to an architecture purpose-built for your student information system, allowing teams to work remotely and still deliver exceptional education experiences.