Jane's experience at Lowood School seem very different to Tom Brown's in Tom Brown's School Days. Tom Brown only had the bully Flashman to worry about, not semi-starvation, cold and rampant tuberculosis. Tom Brown and his friends certainly had enough energy to go raiding farms, playing sport and going on ten mile cross country runs. Lowood School seems more like a concentration camp.
Helen Burns said that Lowood was a school for girls who had lost one or both parents. She said the fees were £15 a year and that that was not enough so it was topped up, by subscription I think. I have been trying to work out whether £15 a year was enough? I think we found out before that money was worth 80x more then than now going strictly by inflation, but more like 250x more going by comparative earnings. In today's money, £1200 per child does not sound anywhere like enough to cover food, clothing, teachers' salaries, learning materials and building maintenance. Even £3750 seems very low (although I have no idea what boarding school fees are like now). I tried to look up what was the going rate for school fees in 19th century Britain, but I could not find many figures and the school system seemed as complicated then as now. However, the majority of children received some education. Quite often the schools were run by the church, and funded partly by fees, the church itself and government contributions. However, I think they were mostly day schools for the poor, in which only the three R's were taught: reading, writing and arithmetic (and a fourth R, religion). I am not sure boarding schools, or schools to which middle class parents sent their children were subsidized by the church and the government. However, Lowood School is governed by a clergyman for the benefit of orphans, so you would think it would have been at least subsidized by the church.
I did find a couple of examples of school fees on the internet last night. There was a school somewhere that charged from £6 to £9 annual fees in the early 1900's, but I think that was a day school, so didn't cover food and clothing. There was a boarding school in Soho that charged £30 school fees annually in the 1750s plus an extra £1 for each additional subject. That seems to have been a relatively nice school because they offered activities such as fencing to their pupils.
Helen Burns said that the governor, Mr B, lived in a big house, so I suppose the implication was that he was diverting money away from the school.