We may be completely mad because SHS is literally a 10 minute walk from our house, but DD loved Pates sooo much on the visit and we were very impressed. I did not get an impression that you have to be sporty. DD is drama/art/science orientated. She has also been obsessed with learning mandarin for some years and was thrilled to find a school that offers it. I agree with Cairo, it seems really good at focusing on your child's individuality.
With my teaching hat on, I admire the concept of 3 years for GCSEs. They intersperse the slog with creative education and give our DCs a chance to get to grips with their subjects in greater depth.
Don't know about from Gloucester, but coach from Stroud to Pates is £1450 per year, which you can pay as £120 a month. We are a very low income family but Grandparents are offering assistance. Mr. Fenton indicates that there is sometimes support from school for paying for the trips if your income is very low.
I get worried about DD travelling off on her own too. She is very small for her age (she and DS in Y4 get mistaken for twins all the time or sometimes she as his little sister!) but she is very sensible and mature and a black belt at Tae kwon Doe. I also worry about the length of time on the coach, then homework or keeping up with her friends here.
Looking forward to revisit on Thursday if my class teacher can spare me. It will be weird looking at other parents and wondering who may be on the forum.