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O Levels

O Levels determine the next stage for students in England. Whether they remain at the school where they've been, whether they can switch to a school they'd prefer and what they will study for the next two years are affected by the results of exams they took at the end of May.

We've often felt that the European system of education is too draconian for our tastes. Kids are tracked early; at a young age, they're either headed for university or put on a track that leads to a skilled career. While we often complain that our system is too lax, we feel bad for any European late bloomers deprived of greater choice.

Nonethelss, there we stood on a gorgeous day, waiting as results came over Lanna's fax line. Lanna had pulled out a bottle of champagne and Mags, the girls' mother, came into the kitchen to report that one girl had done really well and the other's results were just coming in.

"Please, God, let it be good," she said, crossing herself.

"I'm going to have a heart attack," Lanna said. I looked at Christopher, poised over a bowl of Cocoa Pops and the lump hardened a little in my throat.

Hooray! Excellent results for both and we all sipped a glass of champagne as Maebh and Orlagh wiped tears and grinned the very best kind of shy grins - the ones that come from so far inside, you're not sure anyone else can see them. They talked about the exams, about the courses they'd take for the next few years, and we talked some about the American process of geting into college.

The lump loosened a bit in my throat and I hoped that come April, we'd be having a toast to Christopher's success at getting in to the college of his choice.

In the meantime, well done, Maebh and Orlagh. ""

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