The Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Computing is equivalent in size to one A Level. It is aimed at post 16 learners who are interested in an initial introduction to study of the ICT sector at Level 3 alongside other fields of study, with a view to progressing to a wide range of higher education courses, but not necessarily in computing.
It allows learners to gain fundamental knowledge and skills in computing from which they can progress to broader or more specialist study at Level 3. The qualification can be taken in combination with A Levels or other vocational qualifications to meet progression requirements.
When taken alongside other Level 3 qualifications such as A Levels, this qualification provides an opportunity to progress to higher education to study a BTEC Higher National in a computing discipline, a degree in a computing discipline or a degree where computing-related skills and knowledge may be advantageous, such as business studies.
This qualification carries UCAS points and is recognised by higher education providers as meeting admission requirements to many relevant courses. As the mandatory content is equivalent in size to one A Level, higher education representatives have confirmed that it is appropriate to allow learners to choose their optional units from a wide range so that they can explore their own choice of areas for further study. The qualification supports entry to, for example:
- BSc (Hons) in Food Science and Technology
- BSc (Hons) in Information Management for Business
- FdSC in Business Computing
- BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance
- BSc (Hons) Business Information Systems.
This qualification will support professional careers in roles such as business information management, technical service support, marketing support and business systems security.
How does the qualification provide employability skills?
In the BTEC National units there are opportunities during the teaching and learning phase to give learners practice in developing employability skills. Where employability skills are referred to in this specification, we are generally referring to skills in the following three main categories:
- cognitive and problem-solving skills: use critical thinking, approach non-routine problems applying expert and creative solutions, use systems and technology
- intrapersonal skills: communicating, working collaboratively, negotiating and influencing, self-presentation
- interpersonal skills: self-management, adaptability and resilience, self-monitoring and development
There are also specific requirements in some units for assessment of these skills where relevant. For example, where learners are required to undertake real or simulated activities.
How does the qualification provide transferable knowledge and skills for higher education?
All BTEC Nationals provide transferable knowledge and skills that prepare learners for progression to university. The transferable skills that universities value include:
- the ability to learn independently
- the ability to research actively and methodically
- to be able to give presentations and be active group members
BTEC learners can also benefit from opportunities for deep learning where they are able to make connections among units and select areas of interest for detailed study. BTEC Nationals provide a vocational context in which learners can develop the knowledge and skills required for particular degree courses, including:
- reading technical texts
- effective writing
- analytical skills
- creative development
- preparation for assessment methods used in degrees
Here is a League Table of universities offering Computer Science courses, you can investigate the courses on offer as well as seeing the entry requirements.
For information regarding Careers in Computer Science, have a look at the UCAS website here.
Grade 4 in GCSEs in English and Maths
SUBJECT LEADER - MR J FIELDEN
Course Content & Assessment
Students have mandatory units to complete in communication and employability skills, as well as computer systems. They will then move on to studying more specific units in computer programming and website design.
Initially, learners study three core units:
- Unit 1: Principles of Computer Science – (Synoptic)
- Unit 2: Fundamentals of Computer Systems
- Unit 7: IT Systems Security and Encryption
The qualification includes a choice of optional units, including:
- Unit 11: Digital Graphics and Animation
- Unit 15: Website Development
- Unit 17: Mobile Apps Development
These units allow progression to a variety of degrees when combined with other suitable Level 3 qualifications.
Equivalent in size to one A Level.
- 4 units of which 3 are mandatory and 2 are external exams.
- Mandatory content (67%).
- External assessment (50%).