Components and Composites

Can you explain the difference between them?

If not, let us help you with this simple guide to components and composites!

Pupils are on a learning journey made up of incremental steps. These steps are known as components of the curriculum. 

Our aim as teachers is to help them reach different destinations on that journey. These are known as composites.

By definition, composites, relating to the National Curriculum, are top level outcomes which are multi-faceted summaries, involving a range of knowledge and skills. Each of these composites is made up of its constituent parts referred to as the components. These components need to be sequenced so that all children can build upon previous learning and apply prior knowledge and skills.

Here’s the example Ofsted offer as a means of explaining the difference between components and composites:-


To learn to paint effectively with colour


Knowledge Components

  1. Understand basic colour theory
  2. Know about the effects / properties of different painting media
  3. Know about different paint effects e.g. stippling, layering
  4. Understand and use key art-related resources

Let’s look at another example….  


To learn the names of, describe weather associated with and observe changes across the four seasons


Knowledge Components

  • Know the names of the four seasons
  • Know when they take place
  • Know the basic characteristics of each season
  • Know similarities between seasons
  • Know differences between seasons

Skills Components

  1. Observe the weather
  2. Relate the different types of weather to their experience
  3. Use simple information sources
  4. Make comparisons

This type of structured approach is central to our ‘Learning Means the World’ Curriculum, as our design is anchored on the belief that a clear approach to building knowledge and skills is essential to effective learning. We created our Knowledge Building System to help define composites, ‘Concept Flow’ as a means of defining components and our Skills Ladders as a means of developing expertise in a step-by-step way.

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