One of my questions is what happens between allocation day and re-allocation day 3 weeks later? It says in the admissions booklet that they will have received refusals, but surly these can not be many? After all we only get the offer of one school and if you did not get your first choice surly you should not refuse your second choice just incase at re-allocation or appeal you cannot get a place at the first school. Its just I cannot see much movement during that time? What do people think?
I am not at all familiar with your area so this answer is a very general one. The amount of movement after first allocation is very variable between schools and areas and is dependent on so many factors that you would need to know the normal pattern for your particular preferred school(s). Generally the LA will also be considering late applications at this stage - the ones which arrived too late to be considered with the first allocations - so there may be a few extra people who will be ranked according to the admssions criteria for the school(s).
The usual advice is to accept your offered place - if a higher preference becomes available the LA will offer it to you, whether or not you have accepted the offered place. The LA will continue to co-ordinate the offering of places right up until the end of August. However, once appeals have been heard, any successful ones will reduce the chances of being offered a place as numbers will again have to fall below PAN before any new offers can be made. This usually means that there is less movement after appeals have been heard (but not invariably - so much depends on local factors).