My experience of Pate's has been that their pastoral care is very good. My DS got in 2 years ago with a good score (ie y8 now) and this term has really gone off the boil.
They are monitored regularly and have discussed strategies with him to get him back on track. He says he is not aware who of his peers was in top 120 and who on the waiting list (I have no idea if this is discussed amongst them) They do have high expectations of their work but it seems reasonable and I am glad of this as my DS will do the bare minimum at times!
Last year he did very little in terms of extracurricular activities and this year I think he has bitten off more than he can chew! I think there is so little academic difference between any kids in the top 160/180, and probably very much beyond that, that I really wouldn't worry. All kids have strengths and weaknesses and I do feel that the school nurtures these. I would chose the school based on family convenience (it's our local GS and this was a big concern for us as we both work full time in Cheltenham) and whether you and your DC like the feel of a place.
I can see why some people wouldn't like Pate's, it's not for everyone. Equally I didn't get a warm feeling on seeing HSFG but so many people (girls and parents) love it.