1) friend actually works at the school allocated in a behaviour support capacity. Its quite a 'challenging school' and she feels that this could cause issues for her child in a social and personal capacity, as she is closely involved with pupil sanctions and thinks there could be repercussions for her child.
It's not uncommon for staff to seek either the same school, or a different school, for their child. Your friend seems to me to have a valid reason for seeking an alternative.
2) appealed for school has a very specific specialism for which her child can show a clear talent and has provided substantial evidence.
Worth mentioning, I think.
I think the first stage is what it is really, but can you think of anything else that she could bring up at second stage, or questions the panel might ask?
Be prepared for this in case it crops up:http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... school#c34