Giving teenagers experience of working with young children while still at school themselves could be the key to boosting recruitment, according to new research.
More than half of 1,600 new primary teaching students said work experience in schools or with children had been important in helping them choose teaching.
That compared to less than 10 per cent citing advice from national agencies - such as the Teacher Training Agency - financial advisers or careers services.
Ivan Reid, of Loughborough University, and Mary Thornton and Pat Bricheno, of Hertfordshire University, suggest their findings have implications for government recruitment campaigns.
The trio's paper - presented at this week's annual conference of the British Educational Research Association - says that, regardless of age, gender and training institution, virtually all students went into primary teaching because they wanted to. Concerns such as job security, salaries, holidays, fitting in work with parenthood, wanting a change of career - were the least important.