Acknowledging the common assumption locating the impact of education in its role to act as a mediator between origins and destinations, this paper examines Early Childhood Care and Education [ECCE], particularly the role state provided, compensatory education plays in challenging educational disadvantage. Initially operationalisation is made of the key concepts of ECCE, equality of opportunity and educational disadvantage. I then move to briefly describe the historical development of ECCE and compensatory education. Three state provided compensatory education programmes are identified: Rutland Street Project, Breaking the Cycle and Early Start. I conclude by outlining the significant impact early interventions can have in a young child's life and endorse the notion that targeting towards more disadvantaged children and their families is an initial prerequisite in the challenge to educational disadvantage.