The borough of Weymouth and Portland ranks bottom for social mobility across the whole of England, latest figures show.

The damning statistic is contained in a report published by the House of Commons Library based on new research on opportunities for children across England.

This showed that South Dorset ranks bottom among 533 parliamentary constituencies for social mobility.

Last year a similar study put the borough second from bottom in the social mobility rankings.

Social mobility is the likelihood that children from “disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds” will do well as adults in terms of jobs, income and housing.

Children in Weymouth and Portland face particularly acute challenges. Job opportunities are limited, incomes are low and schools face a daunting challenge to meet children’s needs.

While more stable areas of South Dorset are abstracted from these figures the situation in Weymouth and Portland is revealed starkly as an area in economic and social decline.

More than two-thirds of the population of South Dorset is concentrated in Weymouth and Portland, where significant numbers of children are now grossly disadvantaged by national standards.

Weymouth and Portland Action on Wages (WeyPAW) convenor Philip Marfleet said: “The crisis in Weymouth and Portland is clear to see in these statistics but more important is the reality for young people in the area.

“I’m proud to come from Dorset and to live in the county. But I’m not proud of being bottom of the list for jobs, wages and educational achievement.

“Our MPs and councillors need to take the initiative with policies that address low pay, part-time jobs and inadequate contracts and act urgently to support teachers and school staff with resources to boost education.”

South Dorset MP Richard Drax said: “There have been a number of reports indicating deprivation in Weymouth and Portland but I think it is important to note the number of people working in our area to do all they can to provide a brighter future for our children.

“We have just set up a board looking at the future prosperity of our area and there are plenty of people in colleges and schools working flat out to help their pupils.”

Social decline

The Social Mobility Index by Constituency (SMIC) measures prospects for those eligible for Free School Meals (FSM). Among several indices of educational attainment and employment prospects, it found:

- Only 46 per cent of children in South Dorset eligible for FSM achieved “a good level of development” at the end of the Foundation Stage of education. South Dorset ranked 522 of 533 constituencies across England for Early Years attainment;

- Only 28 per cent of children in South Dorset eligible for FSM achieved the expected national level of achievement at the end of Key Stage 4. South Dorset ranked 530 of 533 constituencies at the School stage of attainment;

- The average points score of children in South Dorset eligible for FSM at age 15 taking A-levels or equivalent was 19: South Dorset ranked 451 of 533 constituencies at the Youth stage of attainment;

- Almost 40 per cent of all jobs in South Dorset paid less than the Living Wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation. South Dorset ranked 512 of 533 constituencies at the Adulthood stage of attainment.

Aggregated results placed South Dorset bottom of the national index.