A theme throughout this book is the recognition that developing children's skills, broadly defined, is critically important since these skills have a huge impact on children's economic and social success in life. This chapter starts by considering the evidence on why the early years are so important to children's development and how can improve the early environments of children. Empirical evidence suggests that there is a relatively strong relationship between a parent's IQ and their child's IQ. High quality programmes offer a good learning environment for children but easily quantified measures, such as child to adult ratios, are not by any means the only or most important determinant of the quality of provision. This book discusses whether education policy has really been guided by the evidence and explores why the failings of Britain's educational system have been so resistant to change, as well as the success stories that have emerged.