This article reports on an investigation into school teachers’ perceptions of disruptive behaviour from a psychological perspective. The inter-disciplinary nature of this research bridges the understanding between educational and psychological perspectives on disruptive behaviour. This article discusses evidence that for the most troubled pupils, effective behaviour management at school necessitates a more nurturing and collaborative approach alongside current disciplinary policy. Two studies are reported which examine teachers’ perceptions of disruptive behaviour at school. Discussion focuses on findings of a postal questionnaire sent to 426 primary and secondary schools across England, regarding teachers’ perceptions on the extent to which pupils can control their disruptive behaviour. A further 122 primary schools were sent the questionnaire via SurveyMonkey. The findings illustrate that there is variation in how teachers in primary and secondary schools regard their pupils’ behaviour. Implications of the findings are discussed with reference to attachment theory.