The 2008 ABS schools data out today illustrates my point that the party in power doesn’t seem to greatly affect the market share of private schools.
In the first full year of Labor in power federally, private schools had an unusually large market share gain of .45%, above the .39% average during the Howard years. Government school enrolments fell in absolute numbers rather than the more usual pattern of recent years of simply growing more slowly than private schools. This was entirely due to government primary schools; government secondary schools recorded an increase in enrolments.
If the number of private schools drops it will actually be continuing a trend in the independent sector, which had a net loss of 1 school in 2008. The state-level data shows clearly that these are net effects. Victoria and NSW gained independent schools, while Queensland and Western Australia lost independent schools.
The government sector lost 18 schools, with NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT all recording losses.