Well I've heard lots of good things about the school - great extracurricular provision, good at communicating with parents, great facilities, and somebody I know who went through a family break up said the school were very helpful and caring.
My son went to Pates. He travelled an hour there and back everyday for 7 years and loved every second. I can not say a bad word about the school. The pastoral care was very strong. They rang about the slightest worry they had with the children. They put very little pressure on the children. The children are bright so tend to put pressure on themselves and they helped the children cope with that. They were also very clever with pushy parents. I have three children. The other two I didn't feel were bright enough to get in so didn't sit the test and their educational experience has been totally lacking compared to their brother's. He adored the school and he and all his friends cried like babies when they had to leave.
We love Pate's too and feel it has a lot going for it. Have never heard a bad word about it from any parent with a child there until now. I'm sorry you feel that way Menyanthes - we certainly didn't choose on league tables or hype, just general feel. Remember you can always move your child to the school that you think is better...you don't have to stay at a school you feel is not serving your child as well as it should.