Research indicates that enrolments in separate special educational settings for students with disruptive behaviour have increased in a number of educational jurisdictions internationally. Recent analysis of school enrolment data has identified a similar increase in the New South Wales (NSW) government school sector; however, questions have been raised as to their use and effectiveness. To situate the NSW experiment with behaviour schools in a broader context, the paper begins with a review of the international research literature. This is followed by a discussion of the NSW experience with the aim of identifying parallels and gaps in the research. The paper concludes by outlining important questions and directions for research to better understand and improve the educational experiences and outcomes of disruptive disaffected students in Australia’s largest school system.