Attainment gaps for students, such as those from BME or lower socio-economic backgrounds, have been acknowledged in UK higher education for quite some time (Brocke, Nichols, 2006; ECU, 2016). As these gaps are controlled for prior attainment, we know they emerge once students enter HE. Existing research highlights how these gaps can be the influenced by feelings of not 'belonging', and 'othering' which can impact a student sense of entitlement to support. Such research recommends acknowledging the importance of power sharing between staff and students (Stevenson, 2012), and the way staff can act as 'agents of change' in reducing these attainment gaps (Mountford-
Zimdars, 2015). Building on these recommendations this paper considers specifically the experience of personal tutoring, or one-to-one pedagogical interactions, for students from BME and lower socio-economic backgrounds. We seek to understand from the student's perspective the specific nature of these roles and relationships. Considering the ways in which these roles can and do impact the factors which contribute to gaps in attainment. Adopting Fraser's Theories of Recognition (Fraser, 2001), to analyse focus groups and interview data from an ongoing project at three universities, I present some interim findings, arguing that these student's reflections highlight the way in which one-to-one pedagogical relationships are significant to posotive self-actualisation. Such relationships carry complex messages of institutionalised values, which when recognised and understood have the potential to make significant progress to supporting the reduction of attainment gaps and social inequalities in HE.