Research on students with disabilities in mainstream schools often focuses on the students' personal abilities rather than on the establishment itself. To promote inclusive education, the environmental prerequisite for participation has to be explored also. The aim of this study was to identify the barriers to participation in Swedish mainstream schools, from the personal perspective of students with physical disabilities. The study also investigated how gender, diagnosis, level of mobility, academic years and availability of an assistant were related to student-environment fit. A total of 34 students with physical disabilities, aged between 10 and 19 years, participated in the study. The students were assessed by 'The school-setting interview'. Results show that two-thirds of the students experienced barriers to participation in both the physical and the social environment. A majority of the barriers originated from the way in which school activities were organized and carried out in schools. Failure to provide adequate environmental adjustments resulted in restricted participation or exclusion from some of the activities in class. Older students experienced significantly more barriers than younger ones because the school organization was less favourable. The results suggest that the way in which activities are organized in school is the area in need of most improvements to promote participation of students with physical disabilities.