Have they considered such things as Moodle, which is used at many Universities (http://moodle.org/)? There are other similar learning environments.
It did worry me on the procurement exercise that they were going to try and write something from scratch. A very expensive exercise when there are tools already available. Mind you from a parent/tutor perspective, the main thing stopping the kids using Glow seems to be that none of them know their passwords! Simple hurdles to using the technology are sometimes the hardest to get over!!