I have various data that I am using in the print composer to create images and putting them into word. They will be marked soon by my assessor and I will likely go back and improve them, how do I re-access them?
You should create for each output image a own composer. For example you can duplicate the composer and manage everything over the Composer Manager. That way you can open them later again and improve details.
For further detais check the QGIS documentation for the Print Composer.
The template option is just used to have the basic settings saved. You can save the layout as template and load it again in another session by clicking on
Add Items from Template.