Friends who already have children at SHS are telling me that they know people who asked to go on the waiting list with scores of under 200 and whose children got a place once everyone had made their final decisions and accepted or declined places.
Can anyone clarify the situation for me? I want to set my daughters expectations once and for all rather than keep her hopes up if it's just not possible.
The school & LEA are both correct. The waiting list for a selective school can only be for those who have attained 216 (for SHS) or above. Your friends may well be confusing the score with the Ranking given out to those below the top 120, but who have passed.
You can't start an appeal until 1st March, and the waiting list for those who did pass comes into effect on the same day.
It's worth having a look at the FAQ's on the appeals forum here. You may find grounds for an appeal that you didn't think of! You also can safely accept the school offered on 1st March and appeal afterwards (you don't have to tell your daughter).