In most countries covered by the study, guaranteeing a place for all children and ensuring high quality childcare provisions would require significant additional funding from public authorities. Nevertheless, the evidence shows that this is the most effective area to invest limited resources if the goal is to achieve equitable and efficient education systems. Two main organisational models for early childhood education and care services are apparent in Europe: a single structure for all children of pre-school age (unitary setting). This is the case in Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden. There is separate provision according to age-group for children aged 0 to 3 years and 3 to 6 years (generally). Staff qualifications, quality requirements and funding differ between those two levels. This is the most widespread model in Europe. In a few countries, both models co-exist (Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Lithuania, and Spain). The United Kingdom is currently implementing some unitary provisions for pre-school children as well. The combination of several social, cultural, and economic factors may create a serious risk of educational failure for children. However, poverty has the strongest impact. Nearly one in six European households with a child under the age of six lives on the poverty threshold. High-quality pre-school education brings major benefits: it provides all children with a good basis for lifelong learning and it helps to close the educational gap for children at risk. Yet ethnic minority children who belong to underprivileged families as well as children of single-parent families appear to participate least in early childhood education and care.