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Information Technology BTEC (Extended Diploma) Level 3 at Alton College

Course description

Information Technology (IT) is changing at an extremely rapid rate. There is a need to develop the IT practitioners of tomorrow, who will be able to fill the interesting, demanding and highly-paid specialist posts that will be available within a broad spectrum of organisations.

The BTEC Extended Diploma for IT Practitioners provides the knowledge, understanding and skills for students wishing to enter a career as an IT practitioner or technician in the area of business systems, user support, networking and software development and may provide progression to higher education vocational qualifications such as BTEC Higher National Diploma in Computing or a full-time degree in Computing, Networking or IT Systems.

This qualification programme provides access to some highly specialist units and topics which will help you develop the skills you need to start or progress to a career in IT.

The BTEC Extended Diploma is equivalent to three A Levels which means when you have finished the course you can choose whether to follow a career straight away or to apply for higher education first.

Course content

The majority of lessons will take place in our specialist IT Centre. All classrooms are equipped with high-specification computers, flat screen monitors together with interactive smart boards. All computers have internet access and students will have individual email accounts and 24/7 access to the College intranet which hosts a variety of learning and teaching resources required for the course.

A selection of assignments and homework will be set to cover the units, with deadline dates for completion of work staggered over the duration of the course. Deadlines set for all homework and assignments must be strictly adhered to so good time management skills are essential.

During the first year of the course you will also spend two weeks on work experience in an IT-related field.

Entry requirements

Students studying a BTEC Extended Diploma programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 4.5 or above and at least a Grade C in Maths and/or English. Alternatively, students who have studied a Level 2 Diploma/Certificate or a BTEC First Diploma should have achieved at least Merit grades.

Although you are not required to have studied IT previously, you will need to have a real interest in, and enthusiasm for, Information Technology, together with a keen desire to enter a career or further your education in IT, either as a practitioner or technician.


You will study a total of 18 units during the two years of the course. All of the units are assessed by coursework – and this may include the production of portfolios, presentations, practical projects, and staff observations. None of the units require you to sit a formal examination.
For each unit you complete you will be awarded a Pass (P), Merit (M), or Distinction (D) grade. As this qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels, you will also be awarded an overall grade consisting of three grades – such as PPP, MMP, or D*DD.
Students must complete and pass the first year to be awarded a 90 credit diploma and progress to the second year and full Extended Diploma.
We are aware that Edexcel is currently evaluating the assessment process and there may be the introduction of an examined unit. Further information is unavailable at the current time.

Financial information

All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer disks and calculators (where applicable).

Essential: £50 for textbooks

Optional: £40 for textbooks over two years (most resources will be available on Moodle, with some copies of textbooks available in the library).

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Future opportunities

This course is good preparation for anyone wishing to continue into employment, or to higher education in the Computing and ICT fields. Local companies sometimes contact the College to help them recruit staff, and o occasion the work experience placement results in the offer of full-time employment at the end of the course. Many students have found that the BTEC Extended Diploma in IT has been a very successful course and can lead to university, either at HND or degree level. A number of students who were not considering university at the beginning of the course have decided to pursue the subject at a higher level. Our previous students have progressed onto a variety of courses and jobs. Here are some examples:

Isaac was at Alton College for two years. He successfully completed the BTEC Extended Diploma in IT and accepted an apprenticeship at his work placement, a local software company. He is now studying for an advanced apprenticeship in IT, which will result in a B.Sc. in Computer Science after four years, through the University of Surrey.

Natalie was at Alton College for three years. She successfully completed the BTEC intermediate IT course, progressed onto the BTEC advanced course and is now studying Digital Media at Winchester University.

Seamus successfully completed the BTEC Extended Diploma in IT and is now studying B.Sc. Computer Science at the University of Surrey.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Alton College directly.

Last updated date: 09 August 2016

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