The proposal is contained in a document, leaked to The Guardian (Nov 25, p1) which will be published next month by shadow education secretary David Blunkett.
It says: 'Labour in government will work towards clear national targets, with action taken when targets are not met locally. Targets will be crucial if we are to succeed in our crusade to raise standards'.
Labour leader Tony Blair believes the policy will help Labour seize the high ground on school standards, the issue thought to concern parents most, and leave the Conservatives obsessed by technical issues of structure, such as expanding grant maintained schools.
Under tough new rules, poor schools which fail after efforts by local authority inspectors will be closed, if there are suitable alternative places nearby, or reopened with a new head, a new name and a new governing body. Staff would have to reapply for their jobs.
Labour promises to improve teacher-pupil ratios by greater use of other adults, including postgraduates, in classes. Guidelines for homework, to ensure consistency, will include a minimum of 30 minutes a night for primary school children and 90 minutes for secondary school pupils.