Schools will be marked down by Ofsted inspectors if the quality of their careers advice is not up to scratch should Labour win the next general election, the party's education spokesman said today.
As part of a drive to improve independent careers guidance in schools, shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg announced that he would require Ofsted to monitor careers advice during inspections.
The shadow cabinet member - speaking at the Labour Party conference in Brighton - also reiterated his pledge to reverse any changes to AS levels, should the coalition go through with its planned changes to create a standalone qualification separate from A levels.
The move on careers advice follows a report released earlier this month by the schools watchdog, which said careers advice was not working well enough in schools and criticised the government's track record on the issue.
"We will give a rocket boost to independent careers guidance in schools, by ensuring Ofsted place greater emphasis on careers advice during inspections," Mr Twigg said.
He also criticised plans to stop AS levels counting towards final A level grades. Education secretary Michael Gove instead wants pupils to sit exams only at the end of two-year A level courses.
"It's a disgrace that many of our top universities have become more socially exclusive," Mr Twigg said. "The Tories proposal to scrap AS levels would make this position even worse.
"It's not just me saying that, it's not just schools saying that, although they are, it is said by many of our universities, including Cambridge University.
"I want to make a clear pledge today that if Michael Gove goes ahead with his proposed changes to AS levels, a Labour government will reverse that change."
Meanwhile, Mr Twigg restated his desire to introduce "work discovery" schemes into primary schools, which would see children as young as five visit places of work to instil a work ethic from a young age.
"Businesses tell us it is exposure to the workplace that makes young people 'work ready'", he added.
Speculation continues to mount around whether Mr Twigg will remain in the shadow education role as the party's leader Ed Milliband is widely expected to undertake a re-shuffle of his shadow Cabinet in the autumn.
But in a speech that was relatively light in new policy, he committed his party to plans that will require all schools to offer wrap around childcare between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
As widely reported over the weekend, under the Primary Childcare Guarantee schools will be expected to offer childcare before and after school but it would continue to be paid for by parents or vouchers.
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