The Very Reverend Dr John Hall was installed as the 38th Dean of Westminster on 2 December 2006. The Dean oversees the spiritual life of the Collegiate Church of St Peter Westminster, better known as Westminster Abbey, and gives leadership to the Abbey community, which includes 300 staff and 500 volunteers. Since the Abbey is a Royal Peculiar, the Dean is responsible to the Sovereign alone.
John Hall was brought up in South London. Following a gap year in Kenya, he read theology at the University of Durham and, after two years teaching Religious Education at a comprehensive high school in Hull, trained for the ministry at Cuddesdon Theological College. He was ordained in 1975 and served successively in parishes in Kennington, Wimbledon and Streatham in the Diocese of Southwark. He was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England from 1984 until 1992 and was also an examining chaplain to the Bishop of Southwark.
From 1992 he was Diocesan Director of Education in Blackburn and also, from 1994, a Canon Residentiary of Blackburn Cathedral. He worked in Westminster from 1998 as the Church of England's Chief Education Officer, with overall responsibility for the Church’s strategy, policy and practice in relation to schools, including 5,000 Church of England schools, and universities and for the informal education and nurture of children, young people and adults in and through the Church.
At various times he has been a governor of many schools and two universities, a member of two Local Authority education committees and of the General Teaching Council for England. He has written widely and debated publicly on educational matters and was instrumental in the production of the Dearing Report in 2001 and its follow-up, which led to a significant expansion in the number of Church of England secondary schools. As Dean of Westminster he chairs the governors of Westminster School and Westminster Abbey Choir School. He also chairs the governors of Harris Westminster Sixth Form, a free school opened in Westminster in September 2014.
He has been a trustee of various charities. For several years, he chaired the Standards Committee of the City of Westminster. In 2007, he was awarded by the University of Roehampton the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity and became an Honorary Fellow of Canterbury Christ Church University. In 2008 he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Theology from the University of Chester. In 2009, he became an Honorary Fellow of St Chad’s College, Durham and an honorary Fellow of the College of Teachers. In 2011 he was installed as a Pro Chancellor of the University of Roehampton. In 2014, he became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Westminster.