The benefits of investing early are not only preventative - to avoid costs later down the line - but to make future services more effective and fulfilling. An example, which could be applied in other fields, is holistic early years’ provision. These programmes rethink human potential by dealing upstream with the causes of educational success and failure. The programmes have steadily built up evidence and support over forty years, particularly in northern Europe and in the USA. Examples include the Abecedarian project and Sure Start providing intensive support for children to reduce risk factors. Where these succeed they create a political constituency for public investment in early years as well as effective models for delivery.