Sometimes I feel that all the years we have put into prep, I just don't want her to lose the person she has become. I have read somewhere here that when their DC started state school after prep, they started to lose the way they spoke, their mannerisms and other small things that prep schools instil.
I have done state primary then indie secondary. Trust me, the good that is instilled comes from the parents, not a private or a state school, there are ghastly in both.
WRT your OP, Friends with kids at SPGS, lots of free places, paid for by huge fees from elsewhere, not much in between and it has become a real struggle as the fees have risen to accommodate their laudable aim of being needs blind. Both sets of parents are happy, one fee paying one free place, both very poor though, one way or the other. As for the travel, definitely not worth it for a half decent local alternative, be it state or private