Local commissioners should be appointed to spot failing schools and sack incompetent headteachers, England's new chief education inspector has said.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the incoming head of Ofsted, told the Times newspaper more schools would become independent academies under government reforms.
Identifying failing schools should not fall on his shoulders alone, he said.
The Department for Education said it welcomed Sir Michael's thoughts on driving up standards in schools.
Sir Michael said that by the time Ofsted recognised a school as failing it was often too late, creating a need for local troubleshooters to identify problems early.
He called on ministers to appoint dozens of local commissioners to decide whether to close or merge academies or replace head teachers or governing bodies where standards were unacceptably low.
"I speak as someone who believes in autonomy and who believes in independence and as a great supporter of the academy programme, but we know there will be some academies that won't do well," he said.
"It is no good just relying on Ofsted to give the judgment. By that time it is too late. We need some sort of intermediary bodies which can detect when things aren't going well, look at the data and have their ear very close to the ground to determine when there is a certain issue."
Sir Michael also said scruffy teachers could be rebuked by his organisation, saying school inspection reports should comment on the professional dress and behaviour of staff.
"If we turned up at the doctor's surgery or the lawyer's offices or a surgeon's consultation we would expect them to look professional, it's the same with teachers," he said.
Stephen Twigg, Labour's shadow education secretary, said his party would give "serious consideration" to the idea of commissioners, but there needed to be "strong evidence" the plans would work in the UK.
"We have been looking at the idea of local schools' commissioners to raise standards and deal with poorly performing schools, whilst protecting autonomy and local accountability," he said.
"But the Tory-led Government must answer serious questions before bringing in any changes. Will the new posts be accountable to local parents and communities? Will the new superintendents be qualified professionals?
"What relationship will they have with local authorities? Will there be a rigorous process of appointment or will the new jobs be given to favoured sons who simply fit with the Tories' out of touch and out of date ideology?".
A Department for Education spokesman said the government had already established the Office of the Schools Commissioner and would take action to deal with any failing school or academy.
"We have also published more information than ever before about how schools are performing, including their spending and results, so they can be held to account and parents really know what is going on in schools, including academies," he added.
The new chief inspector for Ofsted will take up his post in January. Sir Michael has been head of Mossbourne Academy in east London.