Course overview

Computing Extended Certificate Level 3 City of Bristol College

This is the computing qualification to get you into university / an apprenticeship / employment.  

It has been developed for students who are leaving school to further their studies in the area of computing. 

The course explores the latest technologies: 

Year One

  • Software Development 
  • Hardware and Security Principles 
  • Responsive Website Development 

Year Two (Optional) 

  • Project Management 
  • Virtualisation 
  • Research Project 
  • Software Development Life Cycle 

You will be assessed through a combination of assessment styles (assignments, practicals and exams). 

Many of our students go on to university to complete degree courses, such as Games Development, Software Engineering, Computer Science and Network Security. 

Additional information

Who is this course for?

The BTEC Nationals in Computing are designed for school leavers who want to go onto university, an apprenticeship or the world of work.

You will need an interview for this course to discuss your past education and also to help you identify if this is the right pathway for you. You will be contacted after making an application with an arranged date. If the date and time are not convenient, you can contact to rearrange.

Please bring with you a report from your school, if you have one available. At your interview, you will be given an opportunity to discuss your personal progression route and given impartial advice and guidance on how to achieve your goals.

What you'll learn

The course is provisionally a 2-year programme and is the equivalent to 2 A-Levels. You have the option of studying for one year only and leaving with a qualification equivalent to 1 A-level. 

This qualification is designed to be an introduction to the computing sector through applied learning. The qualification supports progression to higher education when taken as part of a programme of study that includes other vocational or general qualifications. 

Over the two years, the following units and projects will be undertaken, with a clear vocational scenario and focus, designed to simulate working in the industry and provide the knowledge and skills needed to succeed. 

Year One 

  • Programming 
  • Fundamentals of Computer Systems  
  • IT Systems Security 
  • Website Development 

Year Two 

  • Planning and Management of Computing Projects  
  • The Impact of Computing 
  • Virtualisation 
  • Software Development Life Cycle

Course Entry Requirements 

To join this course, you will need to have Four GCSEs in Grade 4 (C) or above which must include at least English and/or Maths or equivalent. Alternatively, you can hold a Level 2 Diploma at a merit grade or an NVQ/VRQ Level 2 Diploma. 

Course entry requirements

To join this course, you will need to have Five GCSEs in Grade 4 (C) or above which must include at least English and/or Maths or equivalent. Alternatively, you can hold a Level 2 Diploma at a merit grade or an NVQ/VRQ Level 2 Diploma.

How is the course delivered and assessed?


  • The majority of the units taken are assignment-based.
  • Students complete a series of activities set in a work-related scenario which may be tailored to local industry needs.
  • Students generate relevant evidence, drawing on their knowledge, understanding and skills to complete an assignment over a period of time, working either individually or in a team.


  • There is one controlled assessment in year two.
  • Students complete, in controlled conditions, a task tackling an everyday challenge; some tasks also draw on pre-released information.
  • Students show they can apply their learning successfully to situations they could encounter regularly in the workplace or on a higher education course.

Written Exams

  • There are two exams only on the course, both in year one.
  • Students draw on essential information to create written answers to practical questions in test conditions.
  • Students can confidently recall and apply technical knowledge, a skill which provides a solid foundation for working life and further study.

Future career and study opportunities

The world of High-Tech is rapidly growing, and in the West of England, it is a key priority area. More jobs are being created in these fields, and students completing courses in Computing are best placed to take advantage of this high-growth area.

By completing the 2-year Diploma, you will have the option of studying further at Higher Level in the form of a Foundation Degree or a BSc (subject to grades and UCAS Points).

Completion of just the year 1 Extended Certificate will still allow students to access further study and gain employment.

The course adequately prepares learners for employment and many students have moved straight into the industry.

There will also be the option of higher-level apprenticeships or degree apprenticeships for those who have shown the have successfully completed a Level 3 programme.

As part of the programme, you will support you in searching and applying for the best progression routes for you.

Additional costs

As a City of Bristol College student, you may incur additional costs to attend your course. For example, it is likely you may need to pay for travel and stationery. 

Many courses offer learning opportunities that you may need to pay for. This may include things like study visits and visiting speakers. We will let you know in advance if there will be additional costs.

If you are on a limited income, you may be able to receive help from our Learner Support Funding Bursary.

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    For guidance on which career path to take, to explore career options related to our courses, find out which careers are in demand, and then get the training you need.

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