Thanks Sally Anne, it seems to go against the grain really. If you appeal and you have support and you can generally get your message across that your child needs that school it's great. But the admissions code is clear it cannot ask for headteachers reports, or any other supportive evidence in the general admissions but if you appeal you have the opportunity to make your case.
Not quite sure I see this to be fair?
The LEA/admission authority can only work with black and white matters: Is the child 'looked after', does it have a statement of needs, how far from the school does it live, has it qualified if the school is selective, is there space in the school according to the PAN.
Anything can be submitted to an appeal panel as evidence, including fuzzy things: how much was the entrance exam score affected by my child being poorly, how much did great uncle Bert dying affect the child, did the teachers expect the child to pass. Appeals are to make the 'unfair' of the admissions code 'fair' in exceptional circumstances.