• Termly fees increase as the child gets older, so investing when they are young to give solid foundations, may ensure access to the best state education options from age 11 or 13 onwards.

• Shop around your search area. School fees can vary hugely from school to school.

• If looking for a place as a day pupil, schools that offer day provision only, with no weekly, flexi or full boarding, usually have cheaper day fees.

• All-girls schools often have lower fees than co-educational schools. This includes those which are part of the GPDST. (Girls’ Public Day School Trust)

• Always ask about ‘extra charges’ that are made in addition to the termly fees. Some schools offer after school hours childcare, field trips, books, laptop, excursions, insurances, learning support or EAL lessons as inclusive, while others charge these as ‘extras’. Is there a second-hand uniform shop, as these costs can all add up?

• If your child is bright or talented in a particular field, always ask what scholarships are offered, how are they assessed and how and when to apply. Some schools offer bursaries for military personnel and teachers often pay significantly reduced fees for their children to attend the independent school in which they work.

• Excelling at state school from age 11 to 16, may open up opportunities for applying for a scholarship to an independent school for the sixth form. Smaller independent schools sometimes offer sixth form scholarships in order to keep talented year 11 pupils, if they feel there is a chance they may move to another school at this stage.

• With the current low interest rates on savings, ask the bursar about discounts for paying for several years fees in advance. Taking into account annual fee increases, plus any discount, this may be a more cost-effective way to invest your school fee funds. Some schools will even pay interest on the funds you have paid in advance. A wealth management professional will be best placed to offer guidance in this area.

• Ask if there is an option to make monthly school fee payments to spread the termly fee. Some schools will take fees in this way by direct debit or post-dated cheque.

• State Boarding Schools only charge an accommodation fee, with free state-funded tuition so are a more affordable means of gaining a boarding school education.

Further information can be found at www.sbsa.org.uk