It is my unhappy experience that most universities have an ageist recruitment policy. And academe does not like candidates who have come through an unorthodox academic route.
I graduated with a first degree at the age of 32. I gained two masters in my 40s and a doctorate from the OU at the age of 53. I have taught from secondary to higher education level, and this year have had three academic papers published, adding to what an academic friend and retired professor calls an outstanding publication and research record.
I have submitted more than 100 job applications since 2001 (including five to the OU). I have not been successful in one. I do not know if matters will change with the age discrimination legislation, but I am going to keep applying despite the fact that it is my 60th birthday next month.