you can appeal without extenuating circumstances - indeed the academic evidence is much more important. have a read of the FAQ on apeals here: http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals
Appeals panels must be convinced that the child is of academic suitability for a Grammar Appeal. Mitigating Circs come second.
I should add that I can't help on details of appeals, only in the generalities of the system - I don't know which schools I might hear appeals for this year (we do swap around from year to year). The FAQ's and Appeals Forum are a very useful resource.
Finally, you can't start an appeal until after the schools offers come out in March.
Thank you Capers (you are a star and a saint!) for writing and confirmong what we wanted to know, and thanks to all of you who have so far contrbuted to this thread with advice and information. Now the 'Phoney War' begins for a lot of us and will doubtless end in March next year!
‘Phoney War’ is the name given to the period of time in World War Two from September 1939 to April 1940 when, after the blitzkrieg attack on Poland in September 1939 , seemingly nothing happened. Many in Great Britain expected a major calamity – but the title ‘Phoney War’ summarises what happened in Western Europe – near enough nothing.