Schools in the UK looking for solutions to concerns about indiscipline have been enthused by the basic premise of restorative practice; the need to restore good relationships when there has been conflict or harm; and develop a school ethos, policies and procedures that reduce the possibilities of such conflict and harm arising. In 2004 the Scottish Executive funded a national pilot project on restorative practice and commissioned a team at Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities to carry out a two-year evaluation of the pilot. In this paper, we discuss staff and pupil understandings and offer some exploration of the underpinning principles of restorative practice as it has developed thus far in schools. We explore the successes and challenges schools experienced and discuss the potential contribution of restorative practices for schools in challenging times. Finally we relate our findings to some critical arguments about the meaning and purposes of discipline and control in schooling.