Said that DS would be a good GS candidate but has only ranked 2:2! Head seemed to think this was a good strong ranking but I've read so much about successful appeals if the ranking is 1:1. Surely that will go against us?
I've never heard about any correlation between successful appeals and a 1:1. What one head might classify as a '1', another might view as a '2' You could even have a situation where a pupil in one school with a '2' is academically stronger than a pupil in another school with a '1'. Appeal panels have usually understood this. Review panels will be new to all this, and it's too soon to say how well they will deal with such inconsistencies.
Head said our letter to the panel shouldn't focus on the academic side of things as that will be in the head's letter but as we have no extenuating circumstances it feels that our letter may than be a little sparse. Do you agree?
I don't see why a brief letter shouldn't suffice. It's the evidence that matters, so all you need do is refer to the attached evidence - more or less as in the "letter of appeal for Mary" (where I urge even greater brevity!).
One other puzzling thing is that we've been told for pretty much all of KS2 that the class overall is an above-average high-achieving group yet only 4 out of 32 got 121 or above!
SATs are a different measurement - to some extent they reflect other factors such as the motivation of the pupil and the quality of teaching.