Background. Studies of causal attributions within educational contexts have tended to concentrate on academic performance. There have been a smaller number of investigations of teachers’ attributions for pupils’ behaviour in school. Aims. The present study examines the causal attribution made by pupils for difficult behaviour in classrooms. It reveals the structure of these attributions and serves as a comparison with the teacher studies. Sample. The participants were 105 pupils (52 males and 53 females) in the first year of secondary schooling, all drawn from the same inner city school. Method. Four initial small group interviews were used to identify a wide range of factors that pupils viewed as being causes of difficult classroom behaviour in the 18 primary schools they had previously attended. A questionnaire was then constructed incorporating items from these discussions and administered to the whole of the year group of pupils, but omitting the participants in the initial group discussions. Results. The results of a factor analysis indicated that pupils’ attributions for misbehaviour at school were best represented by four factors: (1) ‘ fairness of teacher's actions’, (2) ‘ pupil vulnerability’, (3) ‘ adverse family circumstances’ and (4) 'strictness of classroom regime’. While there were no gender differences, pupils saw the ‘ fairness of teacher's actions’ and ‘ pupil vulnerability’ as more significant contributors to pupil misbehaviour than either ‘ adverse family circumstances’ or 'strictness of classroom regime’. Conclusion. The attributions by pupils for difficult classroom behaviour differ markedly from those obtained in studies of teachers. Policy and practice initiatives which do not attend to conflicting attributional styles are unlikely to succeed in improving levels of pupil behaviour in schools.