Welcome to the forum!
I’ve read through the information in the Appeals section and it’s all really helpful.
Thank you. If you've been through the Q&As, and read some of the relevant threads, you have all the information you need. Never pay anyone for help with an appeal - unless you need a lawyer for some tricky legal aspect (which is incredibly rare, and doesn't seem to apply in your case!).
I’m not sure if what we have is strong enough .......
I don't think anyone can tell you that - apart from your particular appeal panel.
She joined the school from America at the beginning of year 5, so have no earlier test scores/levels.
A possible extenuating circumstance? Difficult to argue forcefully because the high KS2 predictions suggest she's settled really well. Perhaps you could raise it gently, in a low key way: "We don't mean to come up with a long list of excuses, but can't help wondering whether American vocabulary might have lost her a few marks in VR
For extenuating circumstances, we really don’t have much. Her grandma died about three weeks before the 11 plus and it was a sad, unsettled time for us all. DD2 definitely lost some test momentum. On the day of the test, she was very nervous and missed a lot of questions.
Worth a brief mention.
We do have some specific reasons for wanting DD2 to attend the school: she has an autoimmune disease so it’s important to us that she attends a school that offers great pastoral care if/when it flares. DD1, who is in Year 9 at the school, has a (different) autoimmune disease and the school has been incredibly supportive and proactive. Also, the school has a strong focus on dance (offered to GCSE and A level) and drama, both of which are very much DD2’s thing.
Good - especially if there's supporting evidence.
One other thing—the school PAN is set to increase in 2016 from 114 to 120 (which makes me think that they could accommodate more students this September).
Don't include it in your case, but ask during "Questions to the Admission Authority".
So...wondering if we have a case
I'm sure you do, but:http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/general#a36