As the 11+ exams draw ever closer, your children are likely spending all available moments cramming to gain their place at one of the prestigious grammar schools – but with competition so high for each spot, it’s essential your child stands out in the sea of applicants.


Making sure your child has extra-curricular interests is not only good for their wellbeing – equipping them with the extra skills and confidence that are so valuable particularly around this time – it will also show the school board that they’re a well-rounded individual who sees life as a whole as a learning opportunity (and that they know there’s more to life than just studying).


Allowing them to close their revision books and put down their pens, this might just be the one part of the 11+ process that they actually enjoy – and letting them choose what they’d like to participate in will allow them a sense of control in a time when they might be feeling a little out of their depth.


Getting them outside and into the fresh – or at least as fresh as London gets – air is hugely beneficial to children, lowering the risk of hyperactivity and depression and alleviating anxious feelings significantly. It also clears the mind and improves mental flow, meaning whatever’s learnt when they next hit the books is much more likely to be remembered.


Campden Hill Lawn Tennis Club offers tennis classes taught to the highest standard by their team of professional coaches. Founded in 1884 – seven years after the first Wimbledon Championships were held – this private club has six outdoor courts and six indoor, meaning being ‘rained off’ isn’t an issue in this particular case. The waiting list is notoriously long, but midweek membership is slightly easier to gain, allowing play from Monday to Friday until 6pm and making it ideal for after-school tennis sessions.


Holland Park Lawn Tennis Club is set in secluded grounds close to Holland Park Avenue, this private members club offers a high standard of tennis, and the additional facilities are worth the joining fee alone – meaning you can enjoy lunch on the terrace while your little one works off some steam.


And if those waiting lists seem a little too dauntingly long?


The Little Foxes Club offer FA-recognised football, rugby and tennis coaching for children aged 18 months – 14 years at locations across the city, including Holland Park, Hyde Park and Ravenscourt Park (meaning you can drop the whole brood off and head for a medicinal glass of wine on a Saturday afternoon). With each class different to the last, the Little Foxes coaching strategy places emphasis on learning through play, as children learn best when it doesn’t feel quite so like learning. Children can enrol individually or you can enrol a private group of as many members as you like – a great way to alleviate the competition that might be being felt amongst your children and their friends in the run up to the exams.


And last but by no means least, there’s a vast array of sports tuition available in the setting of the beautiful Regent’s Park.


Regent’s Park Cricket Club is a sports club run by parents and volunteers that nurtures not only sporting skills but a sense of community and teaches children the spirit of cricket – emphasising inclusivity, engagement and enjoyment of the game in a friendly environment.


Regents Park Football Club offers classes to children of all abilities and aim to build confidence in all members in both the skills associated with football and themselves. Classes are held in the park at the weekends and in local schools and facilities throughout the week – so those dark nights and dismal weather aren’t an issue.