Between 1998 and 2008 the percentage of pupils in Halton achieving five good GCSEs, including English and maths, increased from 24.7 per cent. to 49.2 per cent. making it the sixth most improved local authority nationally over that period. Over the same period the results for the north-west region, on the same measure, improved from 32.9 per cent. to 47.4 per cent. The authority’s results dipped in 2009 and we are working closely with them through the National Challenge programme to provide additional support to those schools that need it.