Should I explain the 4.8 in maths in the covering letter or wait till the appeal hearing.
I would definitely explain it briefly and factually in the letter. The panel can then always ask questions about it if they need to, but at least you have explained it in advance, rather than leaving lingering doubt in their minds before the hearing.
Reason, dd had a difficult start to secondary school due to school out of area so no pupils from primary school, and being taught by different cover teachers as main maths teacher left for maternity leave.
Be careful with the first point, and if the school can confirm any of it for you, so much the better. Hopefully they will also be willing to confirm the second point as well.
Also do I send SATs papers?
No, just the results, confirmed by the school. If the school won't confirm the results, take the papers with you on the day in case there is any doubt about the results.
Lastly on this forum somewhere I saw a formula to work out overall KS2 SATs English please do you have that link again and should I include that at this stage or when I attend the appeal?
I am afraid I can't recall that post, so try posting on the English section to see if someone can find it for you. Be wary of using a "home spun" formula though.
sorry forgot to ask in the year 7 report dd did not recieve level 5 in all the other subjects except tech. Do they take these results into account
I assume you mean all subjects other than English and maths? It is possible that they might take into account results from subjects such as history and geography. The panel can take account of all and any evidence that you submit. Does the Y6 report have SATs levels for other subjects in it? If so, do they show the same decline in performance? That could support your comments about the difficult start to Y7.
is a explanation of she's had a difficult start acceptable?
See above - confirmation from the school will help.