More needs to be done to retain mature student teachers with children, a small-scale study at Aberdeen University shows.
Some will quit without careful planning on placements, cautions the study led by Cate Watson in the school of education.
One student said that her second placement was changed on the Friday before it started. "I did the three hours travelling a day for three weeks, but I'm a single parent and locking the door on the two boys every morning at 7.15am became just too tortuous for me, so I decided to leave the placement," she said.
Parenthood was a big factor in opting for late careers in teaching but there were still childcare obstacles to joining the profession.
The study also highlights the continuing and traditional rift between universities and schools in preparing students for the classroom. After being on placement, students "go native" and ditch the university view of teacher development and its "whacky constructivist theories".
"The importance of the school as a site for learning increased while the university was seen as increasingly irrelevant," Ms Watson notes.