I am truly very sorry to hear the news. You must be very disappointed indeed, and I feel for you.
What I'm trying to say is that you need something which makes the school seem like the only one which will fit and you probably need to be more vocal about why the allocated place is unsuitable. We were asked this but would not be drawn on it, - trying to focus upon why our preferred school was right. I can now see that this was the wrong thing to do.
I agree with you "up to a point, Lord Copper". (Fans of Evelyn Waugh only for that one.
It is important to remain as positive as possible throughout a transfer appeal. Please remember that one of the panel members may have/have had children at the alternative school and be perfectly happy with it!
Making comparisons on facts
rather than opinions is the key. "This school offers German, our family language, whereas the other school does not. That is so very important to our child because ..."
Opinions are generally hearsay (poor discipline, poor teaching standards, etc) and a good panel will discount those points immediately.
Once again Bouga, I am so sad to hear the news. You might be encouraged to know that I spoke to a friend today whose child went to a very poor Upper school here in Bucks. The parents were always very involved in his education, and spent a lot of time encouraging him to work hard, no excuses. He eventually became Head Boy and went on to Uni, against the odds for that school.
Someone posted to me a long time ago, when my son's appeal was unsuccessful, that "cream will always rise to the top". It was a lovely comment, and it sustained me through some very dark days.
My DS is distinctly semi-skimmed in his attitude to work at his GS at present, but I think that you should take heart from that phrase. Your DD will succeed, wherever she goes, because she has your support.